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Western Force v Cheetahs - teams and prediction

PREVIEW: The Cheetahs announced a very experienced side to face the Western Force in the Challenge Series in Australia on Friday.

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The men from Bloemfontein made a clean sweep in the first two rounds, clinching those by 27-12 and 31-27 and will battle it out in Australia for the next two rounds.

Victor Sekekete captains the side and will partner with Rynier Bernardo at lock while Gideon van der Merwe, Sibabalo Qoma and Friedle Olivier will form a solid loose-forward combination.

Veteran Ruan Pienaar will again play first fiddle at flyhalf, speedsters Cohen Jasper and Daniel Kasende run out wing and up front the big men that will anchor the scrum are Schalk Ferreira, Marnus van der Merwe and Laurence Victor.

The Force is using the Challenge Series as an opportunity to develop cohesion and squad depth ahead of the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific season.

Western Force coach Simon Cron was excited about taking the game to the rural areas.

“We’re really excited to get to Mandurah,” said head coach Simon Cron.

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“There’s a big rugby community down there.

“The whole point of these tours is to get into regional areas and some of the rugby communities that we don’t get to touch when we’re travelling for Super Rugby.”

The 2023 Challenge Series boasts a total prize money of R1 million, with R250,000 awarded for each match.

Prediction

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@rugby365com: Cheetahs by five points

Teams: 

Western Force: 15 Harry Potter, 14 George Poolman, 13 Sam Spink, 12 Bayley Kuenzle, 11 Ronan Leahy, 10 Max Burey (co-captain), 9 Henry Robertson, 8 Jeremy Williams (co-captain), 7 Carlo Tizzano, 6 Faamanu Kalolo, 5 Lopeti Faifua, 4 Jackson Pugh, 3 Tiaan Tauakipulu, 2 Tom Horton, 1 Marley Pearce
Replacements: 16 Ford Hemi, 17 Angus Wagner, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Reagan Leslie, 20 Albert Alcock, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Reesjan Pasitoa, 23 Rewita Biddle.

Cheetahs: 15 Tapiwa Mafura, 14 Daniel Kasende, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Reinhardt Fortuin, 11 Cohen Jasper, 10 Ruan Pienaar, 9 Rewan Kruger, 8 Friedle Olivier, 7 Sibabalo Qoma, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Victor Sekekete (captain), 4 Rynier Bernardo, 3 Laurence Victor, 2 Marnus van der Merwe, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: Marko Janse van Rensburg, 17 Alulutho Tshakweni, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Carl Wegner, 20 Daniel Maartens, 21 Jeandre Rudolph, 22 Raegan Oranje, 23 George Lourens

Date: Friday, September 29
Venue: Mandurah Stadium, Rushton Park
Kick-off: 19.00 (11.00 GMT; 13.00 SAST)
Referee: TBC

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